Welcome to Children's Corner book reviews from 4MBS Classic Radio FM in Brisbane. Here you will find short annotations of the children's books reviewed by Kerry Neary in Children's Corner on 4MBS, together with the details you need to find them at your favourite bookstore. Any prices shown are the publisher's Australian recommended price and may vary depending on where you shop. You are welcome to use these reviews for newsletters and the like with appropriate acknowledgement.

Mar 29, 2015

Books reviewed 5.03.15

For the first time in 20 years of Children’s Corner reviews, I’m not reviewing any picture books. Children should start reading chapter books when they feel ready; they should also keep reading picture books.
Ladybird: a Cover story

Ladybird Books, The Penguin Group
Penguin UK
ISBN: 9780718193911           RRP: $29.99

This hardcover collection of 500 Ladybird covers is a tribute to 100 years of Ladybird Books. It’s a collector’s item rather than a children’s book, but children can browse through the pages and perhaps recognise some of the covers they will have seen in school and community libraries; some of these titles have been in print for a very long time. The artwork also reflects an intriguing social history of cover art styles in fashion during those times. Nostalgia for the older; intrigue for the younger; and a great novelty gift.
Barky the barking dog / Ten unlucky pirates
Little Treehouse Stories

Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
Pan Australia
ISBN: 9781743532980 / ISBN: 9781743532973
RRP: $6.99

At the moment the Treehouse books from these two icons of popular Australian children’s literature, are cult reading. But they are not easy to read with disjointed texts and intricate illustrations; that is not a criticism, just an observation and a reason that many early readers aren’t reading them. These first titles in a new series called the Little Treehouse Stories resolves that. These are stories inspired by humorous vignettes from the longer books, designed especially to entertain early readers and Treehouse tragics and published in chapter book size. Coloured illustrations are a bonus! You can guess the
stories for yourselves. Look forward to more.
Apocalypse bow wow

James Proimos III, illustrated by James Proimos Jnr (a bit suspicious)
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
ISBN: 9781408854983           RRP: $14.99

Two dogs wait patiently in the house for food from their people. They realise, as dinner time passes, something has changed. Outside the world has gone to the dogs – literally. With rumbling tums they soon find the foodmart; and survival is their goal. There is much tongue in cheek in this dystopian comedy, done in graphic novel format with mostly one panel to a page. The best part is on the last page: To be continued. Bound for cult reading status; next up, Apocalypse miaow miaow.

Mar 20, 2015

Books reviewed 19.02.15

Folk stories are often designed to scare the pants off children. Fear was a way to encourage sensible behaviour choices in children. For the modern child these stories have been softened, even sweetened; but there are other enjoyable ways to resolve scary stories than fear.
Scary night

Lesley Gibbes, illustrated by Stephen Michael King
Working Title Press
ISBN 978192150463           RRP: $24.99

Friends Hare, Cat and Pig are taking something special
to Goat on the other side of the dark and dangerous forest. They crouch along, ducking shadows, past the creepy trees; through the dark cave and then the cemetery; wide-eyed and alert, very wide-eyed, all the way to the rhyme of a foreboding, alliterative verse. At goat’s house there awaits a big surprise. The illustrations are in brooding colours but the quirky outlines give a clue that not all is what it seems. Scary and funny – just what the under 8s adore.
The mystery of the midnight crunch

Simon Mitchell, illustrated by James Davis
Five Mile Press
ISBN: 9781743467251           RRP: $14.95

Calling Detective Sniffy Mouse! A monster has raided Mrs Hopper’s house. But there are no monsters, he tells side-kick Cooper. Still, there are reputations to protect and a mystery is a mystery – B-grade movie style or not. There’s no noir here though; just hilarious, scary and colourful fun as Sniff and Coop hunt down the clues and set the trap for the night intruder. Is this monster for real? Comical cartoon-style drawings add to the chaotic film-like amusement. More investigations Detective Sniffy are promised to follow.
The duck and the Darklings

Glenda Millard, illustrated by Stephen Michael King
Allen & Unwin
ISBN: 9781743312612           RRP: $24.99

Something has happened in the world and these are dark times. Grandpapa never mentions the bright olden days but his grandson’s stories of his ventures outside return a glimmer of remembering to his eyes. Then the boy encounters a duck outside with a broken wing; gradually Grandpa’s memories emerge into the light as he helps her to heal. Instinctively the duck must return to her wild but in the end, like the pigeon to the ark, she returns with friends and the hope of a renewed world. The text is lyrical - not at all dark, always uplifting. Randomly patterned shapes of black are gradually replaced by colourful abstract shapes as luminosity returns to the world. A deeply thoughtful book.